When I made the transition into motherhood I was worried that I'd become something I wasn't—that I'd change beyond recognition. I've learnt that such change rarely happens, though onlookers may say otherwise. The truth is that under the extreme pressures of parenting, the intensity of caring for others, the lack of sleep and independence, you become more of yourself than you ever have. There's nothing like the challenge of motherhood to bring out true character, often things you would have preferred to keep hidden away.
When you have children it is impossible to keep secrets. If you always tried not to offend before you became a parent, your children will have no problems with speaking their mind for you. If you always liked things done in a certain way, you can expect your routines to be shattered, or at least expect to work twice as hard to maintain them. If you were always anxious, you will reach a whole new level of neurosis. Parenting is the ultimate character workout.
The good thing about motherhood is that it makes the previously hidden weaknesses cry out to be dealt with. The sad thing for many mothers is that they often cope with too much and don't admit that they need help or that they find life difficult. There's no option of a sabbatical—life carries on and we are still needed by these beautiful yet demanding creatures. It is essential that we are whole people, if not for our own sakes, for the wellbeing of our children.
So, I’ve started to look on life a little differently—to live in the moment instead of longing to be someone funnier or tidier or more successful. I have given up on being the perfect parent and started to be kind to myself. I am able to look at my beautiful boys and feel like, wow, how lucky am I? Despite all the pain and the scars and the exhaustion. I am able to cope with chaos and tears and sleepless nights because of all the bear hugs, giggles and love.
It's ironic that the very thing that has stirred up the most stress and anxiety has actually been my remedy. I am thankful for my children because they've made me deal with things I would still be trying to avoid. So, although parenting has been hard, I wouldn't be without it. Because of it, I am able to be a happier; more content. I am able to be mindful about each day, knowing that my troubles won't last a lifetime.
I am grateful I've been able to overcome things I thought I never could.